The word “devil” in the [King James Version of the] New Testament is also used to represent the original word daimon; and the translation is tainted with the theory of the translators concerning disembodied spirits, or ghosts. The prevalent idea in the days of Jesus was that diseases were produced by “spirits.” Blindness, dumbness, insanity, etc., were all the work of “spirits” possessed by the unfortunate victims. Our language is full of words of heathen origin; but such words no longer mean what they did on the lips of a heathen. Our meaning is well understood now when we call an insane person a “lunatic,” without retaining the theory that the person is moonstruck. One using the word “lunatic” would not thereby be committed to the ancient theory.

Now what is permissible in our times in this respect was also so in the days of Jesus and His apostles. When a disease was miraculously cured, the act was described in the language of the times. Then as now, some held the heathen view, others the reasonable and truthful view. So with the words daimon and demoniac in the days of Jesus. The facts represented by the words are what we must seek to find, and not stumble over the words into the delusions generally associated with them. The following quotation from “Yate’s History of Egypt” will illustrate the truth in this matter very clearly:

“It would seem that the same diseases prevailed then in Syria and Egypt as now, and the various practices adopted by the people concerning them have very little changed during a period of nearly two thousand years. Nothing is more common in the present day in the East than to be told that a person has a devil or is possessed of a devil; and the expression is applied more or less to every complaint. I had occasion to notice this immediately on my arrival in the country.

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Author: Thomas Williams

Keywords: Sacred disease, Epilepsy, Epileptic, Demonology, Demons, Demon, demon cast out, Devils, Devil possession, Demoniac, Demon posession, Possessed of a demon, Possessed by a devil, Devil possessed, Demon possessed, Sicknesses, Illnesses, Illness, Sickness, Lunacy, Lunatic, Mental illness, Mental afflictions, Afflictions, Evil spirits, Devil spirits, Wicked spirits, Medicine, Accomodation, Demon accomodation, Ancient sickness, Ancient illness, Ancient sicknesses, Ancient illnesses, Exorcism, Moonstruck, Moon struck, Casting out demons, Casting out devils, Exorcize, Exorcise, Exorcize demons, Exorcise demons, Mental illnesses, Mental sickness, Mentally ill, Mentally sick

Bible reference(s): Matthew 4:24, Matthew 7:22, Matthew 8:16, Matthew 8:28, Matthew 8:31, Matthew 8:33, Matthew 9:32-34, Matthew 10:8, Matthew 11:18, Matthew 12:22, Matthew 12:24, Matthew 12:27-28, Matthew 15:22, Matthew 17:18, Mark 1:32, Mark 1:34, Mark 1:39, Mark 3:15, Mark 3:22, Mark 5:9, Mark 5:15-16, Mark 5:18, Mark 6:13, Mark 7:26, Mark 7:29-30, Mark 9:17, Mark 9:38, Mark 16:9, Mark 16:17, Luke 4:33-35, Luke 4:41, Luke 7:33, Luke 8:2, Luke 8:27-30, Luke 8:33, Luke 8:35-38, Luke 9:1, Luke 9:42, Luke 9:49, Luke 10:17, Luke 11:14-15, Luke 11:18-20, Luke 13:11, Luke 13:32, John 7:20, John 8:48-49, John 8:52, John 10:20-21, 1 Corinthians 10:20, 1 Corinthians 10:21, 1 Timothy 4:1, James 2:19

Source: The World’s Redemption (Richmond, Va.: The Advocate Committee, 1972), pp. 368-376.

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